Ontario's Front Line Nurses Thrilled Government is Embracing the Precautionary Principle for Worker Safety

    TORONTO, Aug. 23 /CNW/ - The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) and its
53,000 members are pleased to hear their employers will be mandated to provide
safety-engineered needles and that the government has embraced the
"precautionary principle" recommended by the late Justice Archie Campbell in
his SARS report by stockpiling N-95 respirators.
    "ONA has been pushing for the government to provide N-95 respirators, at
a minimum, to protect members from contracting SARS, or influenza, or other
infectious disease," says ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "The
government's announcement this morning that it will stockpile N-95s is a
positive thing for protecting the health and lives of our members and their
    As Minister Smitherman pointed out in his announcement this morning,
front-line nurses and other caregivers are the heroes of the SARS outbreak in
2003; two ONA members died of the disease and dozens were infected as they did
not have access to properly fitted respirators.
    Minister Smitherman's announcement that he has passed a regulation that
mandates health care employers to provide safety-engineered devices will spare
thousands of front line health care providers from accidental needlestick
injuries. Nurses sustain 58 per cent of needlestick injuries in this province.
    "ONA has gone to considerable lengths to demonstrate the effectiveness of
and need for our members to have access to safety-engineered devices," notes
Haslam-Stroud. "We're thrilled that the use of these devices will become
mandatory in Ontario and that the safety of our front line members will

    ONA is the union representing 53,000 front-line registered nurses and
allied health professionals working in Ontario hospitals, long-term care
facilities, public health, the community and industry.

For further information:

For further information: Sheree Bond, ONA, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2430,
(cellular - (416) 986-8240)

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